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WRK Construction creates niche in residential remodeling

Not rushing into owning a business turned out to be a good move. Keffer, in a way, is a product of the local building industry, as he learned various aspects from each employer. He notes that every single one was a member of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, an organization he serves currently as president.

“A lot of guys start when they’re young and really don’t know a lot,” said Keffer, who graduated from Central Kitsap High School. “My track was different. I worked for others and progressed through the jobs, and I was fortunate I had some people along the way that helped teach me.”

When he finally made the leap in 2004, the market was booming. But Keffer once again did not go with the flow.

“I decided to focus on remodeling and started branding instead of focusing on the upswing and making gobs of money,” he said. “I wanted to create brand recognition and build clientele.”

A few years later, it turned out to be a good move. When the new homes market came to a halt, WRK Construction (wrkco.com) had already established itself as a remodeler, Keffer said. That doesn’t mean the company, which employs three to four people, didn’t feel the squeeze — as more builders had to emphasize remodels and customers expected lower bids, the market has made it more challenging for everyone to compete and make a big enough markup to be profitable and stay in business.

“We have to be very conscientious of price and be competitive whether it’s a new client or referral, or an existing customer,” he said.

Like many builders, Keffer has noticed an uptick — his jobs have become larger this year compared with two years ago. But he tries not to focus on trends. “I don’t analyze it. I’m just a guy that likes what he does and tries to do a good job,” he said.

His long-term goal is to grow WRK Construction to a point where less of his time is needed so he could be free to pursue other things that are important to him, including family and involvement in an organization dear to his heart, the Royal Family KIDS. Helping foster children through this organization has been a passion for the entire Keffer family and among the things that are “quite honestly, more important than remodeling or building houses,” he said.

Keffer feels the success of his company is both about the tangible — doing good work — and things you can’t hold in your hand, like honesty, trust and good service. Internally, it’s about running a lean company (he has limited office staff and the business is headquartered on his property). He also credits the local and other HBAs, which have given him various opportunities including educational possibilities leading to certifications such as CAPS (certified aging-in-place specialist) and CGR (certified graduate remodeler).

But there’s one more ingredient in that formula.

“I love the construction industry. I’ve always loved it,” he said. “I do not wake up any morning when I don’t want to go to work. That’s probably part of the secret to my success — I love what I do and see it as valuable and important; and it provides a good income for my family.”

Family — his wife, Tammi, and their children — is another aspect Keffer gives credit to, along with his faith.

“Their encouragement allows me to put the extra hours into the business,” he said. “It’s because of Tammi’s graciousness that I’m able to do this. I owe a lot to her. God’s blessed us, too…I don’t believe you do this on your own.”



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